Jason O. Watson
Which players can help in Week 8 and add some extra depth to your bench for the bye blues?
This is one of the busiest weeks on the fantasy calendar. It's draft season for basketball, but die-hard hoops heads can't neglect their football teams as they try to find this year's Ryan Anderson. But I digress
There were some really big injuries this week in football. Last season's leading rusher went down and the Jaguars could be without MJD for a while. MJD owners might be in a bind this week and hopefully they handcuffed him to Rashad Jennings.
Some interesting must-start names are on a bye this week too: Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, A.J. Green and Ray Rice. Fantasy owners in standard leagues probably don't have any QB issues this week since no true QB1 is on a bye this week.
You can hit me up on Twitter (@MikeSGallagher) if you're not sure who you should cut to make an add of any of these guys.
If you are in a bind at QB, here's a quick list of how I rank the QBs that are available in at least 25 percent of leagues for Week 8: Josh Freeman, Jake Locker, Christian Ponder, Sam Bradford, Brandon Weeden, Ryan Tannehill, Carson Palmer, Russell Wilson, Chad Henne, John Skelton, Brady Quinn
Rashad Jennings, Jaguars - Maurice Jones-Drew could be dealing with a Lisfranc and is already out for "an extended period of time." Jennings is the no-brainer add.
LaRod Stephens-Howling, Cardinals - LSH was one of the more interesting names to have a big day in fantasy. While just about everyone had William Powell as the lead back, the scat back looked like a featured rusher with 104 yards on 21 carries. He should be owned in all leagues.
Daryl Richardson, Rams - It's weird how running back situations work. First, the Rams draft Isaiah Pead in the second round as the likely successor should Steven Jackson bolt in the offseason. Pead had some buzz during OTAs and it looked like he would have fantasy value. Eventually, the Rams said that Jackson would be the featured back and Pead would only get the occasional third-down work. Out of nowhere, Daryl Richardson comes along jumps over Pead on the depth chart and is now firmly in an RBBC with Jackson. Richardson is here to stay and he's arguably a top-five handcuff to own. Plus, the Rams might give him a little more run to see how much they may or may not need to invest on S-Jax this summer.
Jonathan Dwyer, Steelers - Dwyer finished on a high note against the Bengals on Sunday Night Football and was able to clear 100 with his 122 yards on 22 carries. While it wasn't exactly in impressive fashion, Dwyer did his job and he clearly wore down the Cincy D. Rashard Mendenhall and/or Isaac Redman could be back, so owners probably don't want to use a high-priority waiver claim on the Yellow Jacket.
Montario Hardesty, Browns - Trent Richardson is dealing with a rib injury, but he was yanked from Sunday's game for being "ineffective," according to coach Pat Shurmer. It's hard to argue since T-Rich had just eight carries for eight yards. That's a 1.0 YPC, in case you didn't know. Well, Hardesty has become the clear handcuff in the process. While Richardson will probably be OK, the rigors of the NFL could take its toll on the rookie.
Andre Brown, Giants - Brown is emerging as the goal-line back. Plus, David Wilson didn't get a carry on Sunday. Ahmad Bradshaw is one step away from missing time and it's abundantly clear that Brown would see most of the work while Wilson will see an occasional touch.
James Starks, Packers - Mike McCarthy was not happy with the Alex Green and Starks could get a chance to show what he can do this week. Although, there's really no way I'd consider starting him in any league. Plus, I'd keep an eye out on Johnny White in very deep leagues (mentioned last week).
Chris Rainey, Steelers - Rainey made a lot of people angry on Sunday night as he scored the only rushing TD for the whole game. He was pretty solid as a third-down back even though the Steelers weren't in many passing situations.
Leonard Hankerson and Santana Moss, Redskins - Pierre Garcon could miss some more time with his foot injury and both Moss and Hankerson look like the primary beneficiaries in the Washington passing game. Hankerson's big-play ability gives him the edge in standard leagues while Moss in the slot may help PPR owners more.
Jeremy Kerley, Jets - Kerley has been discussed ad nausem and Sunday he proved why. The Jets used him in a Wes Welker mold as he racked up seven catches for 120 yards. He could be a PPR asset in even a 10-team league.
Greg Little, Browns - I'm not going to write about Josh Gordon for the sixth time this season (10 targets on Sunday!), but this week we'll bring back Greg Little. Little had one of the better catches of the weekend to headline his day of six catches for 52 yards and a TD. He has the talent and as long as he catches the ball, he should lead the Browns in receptions. Plus, Brandon Weeden is slinging it nearly 40 times a game these days.
Chris Givens, Brandon Gibson and the STL WRs - It looks like Brandon Gibson is in the lead right now for the Rams top receiver. However, it's not quite a lock since Gibson has sort of plateaued as a receiver while they may like to see what they have with rookie Chris Givens. Gibson may be a better help if you need an immediate boost, but Givens has the long-term edge.
Chris Cooley, Redskins - Cooley looks to be the new-old tight end in Washington. Fred Davis (Achilles) will miss the rest of the year and the Skins are really thin at tight end with Logan Paulsen and Niles Paul left on the roster. However, there's no way fantasy owners should be starting Cooley in even a 16-team league right off the bat.